GVSU hockey sweeps Miami (OH)

GVL / Emily Frye 
Sophomore defender Buck Maynard on Nov. 20th.

GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore defender Buck Maynard on Nov. 20th.

Josh Peick

The Grand Valley State men’s hockey team has hit its stride, and at the right time. The last four games for the Lakers have come against first-place teams in their respective American Collegiate Hockey Association regions.

After a split against the Central Region leaders Lindenwood – Belleville, GVSU handed Miami (OH), the Southeast Region leaders, its first losses of the season. The Lakers secured both victories by one goal each, 4-3 in overtime Friday night and 1-0 on Saturday.

In game one action Friday night, the two teams went blow for blow. The game consisted of three lead changes, with GVSU pulling away with an overtime goal.

GVSU (17-3-1) took the first lead of the game with a goal from Alex Ostrowski, giving him eight for the season. Ostrowski has been more of facilitator this season, notching 14 assists, including one in the second game of the series.

“My points came from my two wingers working hard and putting me in the right spots to be successful,” Ostrowski said.

Miami responded with a shorthanded goal, but forward Corbin Rainey found the net for GVSU on the next shift.

Quick responses to Miami’s goals were a common theme for the Lakers.

After two Miami goals sent the Redhawks ahead 3-2, GVSU responded again with a goal on the next shift. Sophomore Dan Olson netted a shot from the point off of a faceoff win in the offensive zone.

The Lakers forced the game into overtime after a few crucial penalty kills in the third period. In overtime, senior Michael Bishop buried a 2-on-1 breakaway to end the game. Bishop is second on the team in goals with 13.

Game two of the series was a defensive battle. Goals didn’t come cheap. The scoreboard read 0-0 all the way until the third period.

In the third, after an aggressive forecheck by Bishop, Ostrowski received the puck and found Nick Schultz on the backdoor pass, as he buried the puck in the net, giving GVSU the one goal lead.

The one goal was enough for goaltender Spencer Craig. Craig was a brick wall in net, stopping every shot thrown at him, including three breakaway opportunities for Miami.

“Breakaways are not something I’m accustomed to playing behind our guys,” Craig said. “To have three was a fluke and probably won’t happen again.”

Other than the three breakaway opportunities, the GVSU defense made it hard for the Redhawks to get any offensive momentum.

“(The defense) did a good job of getting in the passing lanes and cutting off options for the puck-carrier,” Craig said. “That kept a lot of the shots to the outside which makes stopping the puck a whole lot easier.”

Sitting in third place in the Central Region, the Lakers will look to get another sweep against regional foe Davenport on Dec. 18 and 19 in a home-and-away series.

The Lakers are playing some of their best hockey at a crucial time in the season. It doesn’t appear that the team is showing any signs of slowing down. As Ostrowski and many of the other Lakers put it, “the boys are hot.”